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How to Achieve a Successful "Cloud Smart" Strategy

These days it’s not enough to be simply “in the cloud” – your presence needs to reflect a holistic plan for managing data and applications intelligently, optimizing cloud value. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you strategize your organization’s "Cloud-Smart" approach.

Key strategies for achieving optimum value in the cloud

It’s no surprise that so many organizations have already embraced some form of “cloud-smart” mindset – and more are doing so every day. By migrating certain data and applications to the cloud, they’ve learned to appreciate its breadth of business benefits: Increased reliability, scalability, agility and flexibility; modernized applications and services; enhanced security; and reduced operational cost and complexity.

From a dollars-and-cents standpoint alone, the cloud makes sound economic sense. By deploying and maintaining a traditional fixed-cost data center infrastructure, you pay for maximum capacity even during off-peak loads; whereas with the autoscaling attributes of the cloud, you pay only for what you use.

And, the cloud helps accelerate business transformation. It’s essential in the Digital Age to manage data flexibly and intelligently – because data is your most valuable asset in order to compete and survive in an evolving business landscape. You need the ability to move data where it needs to be in real time, keeping sensitive data wherever it’s most secure while managing data across a multicloud environment.

But the truth is, simply “being in the cloud” isn’t enough. To derive maximum value from their cloud presence, organizations need a well-conceived, thorough and holistic strategy. What follows are some considerations to keep in mind as your team begins developing an effective cloud-smart strategy.

The importance of properly placing applications

In defining a comprehensive strategy, critical considerations must be taken into account: For example, streamlining the proper mix, placement and delivery of applications can have a direct impact on business operations.

You need to determine which applications to keep on premises, and which ones to migrate to the cloud for fast, on-demand delivery, rapid software updates and patches, and even usage and productivity tracking. Ask yourselves: Are any applications optimal for a microservices architecture? Should any apps be retired altogether in favor of a new generation of cloud-based software?

Beyond applications, another aspect for your team to address involves evaluating how and where data fits into the cloud migration mix. To determine if data is being handled optimally, ask yourselves: Where does your data live? Where is it backed up? Does it exist in different areas or platforms? Is it hot or cold data?

The need for strategic data placement is critical as more enterprises move away from the traditional data center infrastructure, and physical hardware becomes more expensive to house, maintain and upgrade. Allocating data to the most appropriate locations for the correct purposes is essential for achieving optimal performance from applications.

In a data-driven world, ubiquitous connectivity is required

Cloud networking is a complicated endeavor – but that technical complexity should be totally invisible to its end users. Colleagues, customers and partners must be able to collaborate with ease regardless of geographic location or time zone in order to maximize productivity and unleash creativity and innovation.

By running modern applications based in the cloud and through software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, you can leverage fresh capabilities to offer improved interfaces and richer experiences. This calls for carefully evaluating each cloud-hosted application to determine which platform will be most effective in achieving overall cloud objectives. Ideally, your cloud networking strategy will remain transparent, enabling the seamless collaboration you require.

Strategizing for optimum security is critical

A comprehensive security approach is vital when migrating some or all business assets to the cloud. Your team will want to ensure that your security policies account for increased connectivity beyond the firewall, and that your cloud provider(s) can align with your needs, as well as all pertinent compliance and regulatory requirements. To evaluate your true security status, ask yourselves: What are the risks, and are they being covered? Do your cloud provider’s security policies align with your own requirements? How does security influence your cloud migration plans? What are the best available cloud security methods and tools?

Keep in mind, each element of a secure cloud strategy must contribute to the overall effort as part of a coherent, orchestrated master plan. A successful security transformation employs every component of an enterprise security posture: from security architecture to next-generation firewall platforms, end-point protection enterprise segmentation, and management of identities and access.

Taking a holistic security approach helps connect business goals and objectives to technical solutions, leading to more-effective outcomes while aligning with overall enterprise architecture efforts.

A trusted platform for secure, agile, scalable cloud infrastructures

The world’s leading cloud service providers use Intel’s advanced technologies for automation, orchestration and a wide spectrum of cloud workloads. WWT also works with Intel to provide a reliable, agile foundation for its own cloud architecture solutions. Intel technologies are uniquely architected for today’s evolving cloud infrastructure needs—offering businesses the industry’s highest energy efficiency and system-level performance.

Virtually all WWT deployments are based on Intel® architecture. For example, most servers at the heart of our on-prem solutions, as well as the great majority of data centers and cloud service providers, are powered by the latest technologies including 2nd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, specially designed for high-performance computing and other demanding data center applications. They also feature Intel Optane™ DC persistent memory, workload-optimized to deliver affordable large capacity and data persistence. WWT is leveraging these and other Intel® technology solutions for networking, security, storage, and computing performance.

Edge-to-cloud expertise should guide every stage of your cloud journey

WWT recognizes that the cloud can reduce operational complexity – but can also create new levels of complexity for those tasked with deploying a sound multicloud strategy. To get the most value from your technology investment, it’s essential to retain the services of a highly experienced specialist who’s well-versed in all aspects of IT, from the edge to the cloud. For this purpose, WWT retains a multidisciplinary team of specialists in all facets of cloud architecture – as well as the hardware and software that drives every cloud solution. And, WWT can step in at every phase of the cloud journey.

As organizations advance and evolve in their cloud sophistication, so do the types of services they need, from assessment to applications. For example, some are more advanced in their cloud infrastructure and need help with only cloud applications. Whatever stage is required, WWT is uniquely positioned to engage and assist in discovery, candidacy assessment, application deep dive, foundational evaluation and implementation.

What’s your cloud strategy?

Being “in the cloud” is easy; creating a sensible, high-performance, cost-effective, secure enterprise multicloud presence, not so much.

As we’ve shown, a lot of deliberation, planning and expertise goes into architecting a successful cloud-smart capability. These were just a few considerations to take into account, but there are infinitely more to consider. Whether you’re presently in the cloud or planning your migration, make sure you’re realizing the true value of the cloud by formulating a solid, holistic and thorough cloud strategy.